I felt as if I was on the verge of tears the moment the castle came into my view.
It wasn’t much longer from this point.
It was so close I felt as if I could just reach out and touch it.
Being in the state I was in, I didn’t decide to waste the energy to try.
As we got closer, I managed to make out the large group of slaves that were waiting at the front of the castle.
No vampires, just the slaves.
That fact made me a bit sad.
I kind of wanted Nico to be the first person Id see, but apparently the slaves were going to be the ones returning us to our Masters.
My heart sank at the realization that I would have to power my way through all those stairs before getting to Nico.
The thought of that made me rest my head against the bars, taking in a deep breath.
I could barely walk straight how was I supposed to do that without at least making a complete fool of my self?
I lifted my head back up, now telling myself that I could power through.
I had only a little hope that it would actually work.
I hadn’t even realized that we were at the castle before the jolt of the car coming to a stop completely messed up my balance.
Holy crap we’re here.
That fact made any patience that I had left completely fly out the window.
The vampires in charge made their way back to us much slower than I think was necessary before they pulled us out one by one, handing their leashes to a slave before coming back to grab another.
I watched in envy as the slaves led the pets into the castle, taking them back to their Masters.
Luckily it didn’t take long for them to take me.
I walked with my head down off of the trailer, not even looking to see who the slave taking me was.
I wanted to save up the rest of the energy that I had.
And my newfound excitement to finally be home was only giving me the smallest boost.
The walk was silent between me and whichever slave was walking with me until we reached the inside of the castle, away from any of the vampires.
“Khloe are you ok?” the slave asked me.
The shock of both hearing my name and a familiar voice made me snap my head up to see who it was.
When I did, for some reason I felt insanely relieved.
Marcus looked at me, concern written all over his face.
He could obviously see the exhausted look in my eyes and most definitely noticed that I was walking like a drunkard...
He was even offering his hand to me for support.
But some part in the foggy and insanely tired part of my mind was so happy to see him again that I just wrapped my arms around him instead.
He seemed surprised but still returned the favor by wrapping his arms around my lower back.
“Yeah,” I replied quietly, “Just really tired. Gosh, you have no idea how happy I am to see you.”
Marcus was probably one of the people I was closest to besides Nico.
Ever since we met at the ball, we became pretty decent friends.
I guess the fact that I hadn’t seen him since the ball and that he was the first person that I’ve seen since I’ve gotten here just made it that much more exciting to see him again.
He laughed as I pulled away, “I’m happy to see you too,” He replied with a smile.
That smile quickly returned to concern.
“Wow, you really do look tired. What happened?” He asked as we began walking again.
“Uh... I guess I just uh,” i paused for a moment, trying to get my tired mind to actually put together a sentence. ” I never felt comfortable enough to sleep.” I partially lied.
“I’m sorry.” He said, sounding considerate.
Before I could reply, he suddenly stopped walking, causing me to do the same.
“Wait. You’re on the twenty-second floor right?” He asked.
I nodded slowly.
He just looked me over in thought for a couple seconds.
“Yeah... you’re not gonna make it up there. And id carry you, but that would proabably get us both in trouble so...,”
He looked to his right, glancing around that general area before motioning me to follow him that way.
“Where are we going?” I asked him, focusing very hard on walking like a normal person.
He seemed to notice my struggle judging by the fact that he wrapped his arm around my shoulder allowing me to lean against him for support.
“You guys have an elevator?” I questioned.
I had never seen one here, but I guess there was a lot of places in this castle that I haven’t seen.
“Yea,” he replied, “We’re only really supposed to use it when we’re delivering something heavy or something fragile, but ill make an exception.”
My sudden urge to want to cry kept resurfacing.
“Thank you.” I breathed out.
He laughed quietly, apparently hearing the relief in my voice.
“Don’t mention it.”
We eventually walked into the elevator which apparently blended right into the wall.
The interior of it didn’t match the aesthetic of the rest of the castle at all. It just looked like an ordinary elevator.
I kept my knees locked as we traveled up the floors.
I knew that that wasn’t the best idea, but even with the support of Marcus, I felt like i was going to collapse just standing still like this.
I was so close.
Nico was only minutes away at this point.
I didn’t even hear the elevator door open or notice that we had even arrived until I felt Marcus begin to walk.
I guess my body knew how close we were to finally getting some decent rest.
The elevator let out fairly close to the stairs, which allowed me to see Nico’s door down the hall.
Just the sight of it gave me the slightest boost of energy.
I wanted to run over to it more than anything but I knew better than to try.
So, I just quickened my steps to the best of my ability.
Marcus caught on, meeting my pace until we finally reached Nico’s room.
“I’m guessing you can take it from here?” Marcus asked as he unhooked the rope from my collar.
I just nodded.
“Good, cuz your Master scares me.”
I couldn’t help but smile at his remark as he gave me a hug goodbye.
“Thank you again, Marcus,” I said as he stepped back, “I hope I see you again soon.”
He returned my smile, “You and me both.”
I waved to him as he walked away before turning my head to the door.
I placed my thumb on the black box above the door handle, hearing the small click before I opened the door.
Only then did I realize that my heart was beating faster from excitement.
The first thing that I saw was Nico sitting at his desk, his head turned towards me with his eyes wide in what looked like excitement.
Then, the next thing I knew He was in front of me, and I was pulled into his arms.
My own found his back almost instinctually, grabbing tight onto the back of his shirt as a huge smile appeared on my face.
I heard myself let out a breath of relief, almost like I had been holding it for the past two days and could now finally relax.
I could feel my entire body relax against his body, finally feeling the safe feeling that he gave me.
Feeling the comfort in his arms.
The smell of him clearing my mind, confirming to me that I had finally made it back.
The tiredness of my body finally gave in as I found this relief, causing me to lean fully against Nico.
He noticed this quickly and changed the way he was holding to support me.
“I missed you,” I quietly said, tightening my grip on him the best I could.
I really did. Even though I was only gone for two days, Even that felt like too much.
His thumb rubbed against my back, “I missed you too.”
Even in my groggy state, I could tell that he meant it.
“I wanted to come and get you myself, but Lord Bronwyn was very insistent on making the slaves do it” He finished
I didn’t even care about that at this point.
“Did everything go okay? Did they hurt you?” He asked, a small amount of worry showing through his voice.
I shook my head against him, “No... I’m just tired.”
“Yea I can tell,” His arms slid down to my thighs holding me behind my knees before he lifted me off of the floor.
I didn’t have the energy to be surprised by his actions.
I barely even had enough to wrap my arms behind his neck to make the sudden position change more comfortable.
“You didn’t sleep at all?” he asked, almost sounding like he expected this.
I nodded, not really knowing how much sleep I got before-
I gasped sharply, suddenly remembering that I needed to tell him what happened.
The sudden realization of it all somehow allowed me to push myself back by pressing against his shoulders.
He was definitely shocked by my sudden movement.
“Nico Doe- Sh-She T-took”
I stopped, squeezing my eyes shut and shaking my head.
I just had to get this out.
This was the last thing I had to do before I could finally get some very much needed sleep!
That motivation seemed to just barely be enough to get me to put together what I needed to say.
I was very grateful to see the patient look on Nico’s face when I opened my eyes.
“I-I had a nightmare a-a-and ended up waking up one of the workers b-but when he came to the cage that I shared with Doe,” I paused for a moment, allowing me to reprocess, “Sh-She took the blame for me and took the punishment! She g-got whipped for something I did saying she was returning the favor for what happened between me and X-Xander and I-”
I stopped myself as I felt the guilt of that whole situation come back to me.
Nico, however, looked completely surprised.
“Really?” he asked.
I nodded, returning my arms to how they were before in some sort of act to make the guilt go away again.
Even though she said it wasn’t a big deal...
“I feel so bad about it Nico...” I croaked.
He was silent for a moment.
“Don’t,” He began, “I’ll talk to Xander and take care of it.”
I felt my grip tighten on him.
I knew that I couldn’t really do a lot to make it up to her, But Nico could.
I felt him nod as he began walking towards the bed.
“But for now, you need to get some sleep.”
I felt Khloe’s body relax as I set her down unto the bed.
She curled up into the blankets almost immediately.
As much as I wanted to spend time with her after being away from her. I could tell that she needed sleep more than anything.
I already had the feeling that she wasn’t going to get much sleep, but I’m glad that her exhaustion was the worst thing that happened to her.
And, well, I needed to talk to Xander.
I needed to thank Doe.
If she hadn’t done what she did, well...
I tried not to dwell on that, knowing that the mere thought of it would make me angry.
Despite my threat to the worker that took Khloe, I doubt it would have gotten her out of that situation.
Nor would the mark that was still on Khloe’s skin.
Doe saved both Khloe and whichever vampire got mad at her.
I felt Khloe’s hand grab onto mine as I turned to go do that.
She looked at me with her tired eyes.
“Lay with me?” She asked.
Her want caused a small smile to raise on my face.
“I will sweetheart, just let me talk to Xander first. It shouldn’t take long.”
I bit the inside of my lip after I finished my sentence.
Oh my God did I actually call her that out loud?
Khloe just hummed a quiet ‘ok’, her hand falling against the bed.
Hopefully, she was too tired to notice.
She probably was.
With that I headed towards the door, flipping the light off before leaving the room.
I only barely stopped myself from running directly into Xander as soon as I closed the door.
Xander seemed just as surprised by my sudden appearance as I was his.
Apparently we both went to see eachother at the same time.
We both just looked at each other for a couple seconds.
Xander’s mouth opened, but nothing came out.
Just a look of guilt as his eyes darted to the side and his body tensed up.
His hands clenched as he drew in a sharp breath.
“I’m sorry,” He finally said as he looked at me, “For drinking from Khloe.”
I just stood there in shock, staring at his still tense stance.
That was one of the only things he didn’t apologize for during our talk last night. I didn’t even think he cared enough to remember that he had done that.
Even if he didn’t, I’m guessing Doe explained to him her actions when he saw what had happened to her. I guess seeing his pet take the hit to make up for something that he did finally make him confess.
“Dammit Nico don’t act so surprised. I know you knew. Hell, I didn’t even try to hide the evidence.” He admitted, looking back towards the floor.
I didn’t know what to say.
I actually felt conflicted because if he hadn’t of done that to Khloe, chances are that Doe wouldn’t have taken the blame for Khloe and Khloe would have gotten hurt.
Which one would even be better? Getting Bitten by Xander or being whipped?
Neither were preferable and both made me want to hurt someone but...
I think I knew which one Khloe preferred.
“It’s ok.” I finally said.
His eyes shot up to meet mine again, the fact that his shoulders relaxed a bit showing me that my answer surprised and relieved him.
“Wait really?” He asked, seeming very confused by my calmness.
“Yea... Is Doe OK? Does she need anything? I have some pain meds if that will help.” I offered.
That was the least I could do for her.
Xander shook his head, “No, it was an old whip. She claims that she’s fine, but I’ll keep an eye on her.”
“OK. If she ever needs anything... let me know.”
Xander nodded, his relaxed stance showing that he was relieved by my answers.
“And give Doe my Thanks.”
“I will,” He responded, “Tell Khloe I’m sorry too.”
I smiled a bit taking a step back towards my door, “I will. Is that all you came to tell me?”
“Ok I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow then.”
“You’re not coming to lunch or dinner?” He asked.
“Nope. I’ve got plans.”
Xander just ’huh’ed, knowing that I really never had plans unless I was working.
“Aight. See ya later then.” He said as he turned towards his room.
I didn’t respond, just watched as he walked away.
I liked this new Xander.
The click of the lock sounded on my door before I quietly opened the door.
I could see Khloes sleeping figure through the darkness.
Judging by her breaths and heartbeat she was already fast asleep.
Still, I was going to give her what she wanted because I honestly wanted it too.
I gently closed the door before making my way over to the bed.
She was lying facing the opposite way that she usually did, facing away from me.
Which shes never done before but I could still make it work.
I got into the bed and under the blankets as gently as I could, remembering that I woke her up the last time.
This time, I was sucessful.
I scooted over to where she was untill her back touched my chest.
Laying my head down onto the pillow, I wrapped my arm around her near her stomach.
She seemed to react to my touch.
I couldn’t tell whether she was awake or not because her breathing and heartbeat didnt change, but she turned over so that she was facing me.
I just watched her as she slipped one of her arms around me so that she was holding my back.
She even set one of her legs over mine.
Wow... I liked this a lot better.
I shifted my arms so that one was holding her close to me by her back and the other lazily messed with her hair.
Feeling her against me like this, knowing that she was safe again was oddly satisfying.
Feeling her heartbeat against my chest and her warmth...
Smelling her sweet scent...
Well, her scent that held a tinge of someone else for some reason.
I knew that it the same scent that all of the castle slaves had, but I didn’t know why it was on her at all.
I exhaled a quiet sigh.
Whatever... I had her back in my arms and that’s all that mattered to me.
And now that I could relax, I could catch up on my sleep as well.